H.E. President Andrzej Duda addressing the Poles during the Constitution Day
H.E. President Duda reviewing the troops
Parade of the Flags in Warsaw’s Castle Square
H.E. President Andrzej Duda delivering his brief remarks before a cross-section of Polish society during the reception at the Presidential Palace; on his right is First Lady Mme. Agata Kornhauser-Duda
Philippine envoy Ms. Patricia Ann Paez at the Presidential Palace reception
Poland celebrated the 226th anniversary of the 03 May Constitution of 1791, also known as Constitution Day, in Warsaw’s Castle Square last 03 May.
In his address, which will resonate with the Filipino people, H.E. President Andrzej Duda: “Poland is completely different from that in 1790-1791 - it is a free, sovereign and democratic Poland where the nation elects its authorities in general elections.”
“We should be proud of today’s Poland, a Poland that is developing, that is sovereign, a Poland that defends its interests, that does not shy away from speaking on issues that are important to it also on the international stage; a Poland that today belongs to major international organizations and is active in these organizations”, the President stressed.
President Duda added: “Poland expresses its own opinions, even if they prove unpopular, in such organizations... This is exactly what sovereignty is, it is the pro-state thinking, and it is our Polish point of view that we are not afraid to present... Because every patriot who honestly represents (his) country first of all takes care of its national interest, placing (his) country and (his) compatriots on top.”
H.E. President Duda declared that he wants a constitutional referendum held in Poland in 2018 so that the Poles can express their views, specifically, if they want to change their present Constitution or retain the present one.
He expressed his “hope that the referendum could be carried out above divisions” and his desire “to carry out this project with (his) compatriots;” adding that “the time has come for a serious debate” on the matter “on the 20th anniversary of the present constitution and a year before the centenary of Poland’s independence.”
Poland regained its independence on 11 November 1918 after 123 years of being partitioned by Prussia, Austria, and Russia.
H.E. President Duda further said: “I believe that referring to the achievements of 226 years from the May 3 Constitution, of nearly 30 years after 1989, and of 20 years of the current constitution, we are able to create a constitution which will match the 100 years of independence and the free Republic of Poland.”
He underscored that the Polish people should “have a say on the future of the Polish political system...what political directions they want in the future...what role is to be played by the president, the Senate and the Sejm... and what civil rights and freedoms should be emphasized more strongly.”
Noting the “many political divisions in Poland,” he emphasized that “since Poland is a democratic country...there are various opinions...(and) it is good.”
In the afternoon, President Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda hosted a reception at the Presidential Palace for the officials of the Polish government, members of the diplomatic corps, and key figures from a cross-section of Polish society.
The May Constitution was passed on May 3, 1791 by the Great Sejm (Grand Parliament) of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and is the world’s second oldest constitution after the US constitution of 1787.
A recent IBRiS poll showed that 61% of the respondents support the initiative of a Constitutional referendum, while 36% are reportedly against the move.